The UK Court of Appeal allows the home secretary to use information got by torture to lock people up without trial

The Guardian published today, 12 October 2004, a long awaited (long awaited by me, anyway) article of mine about a recent controversial – and in my view insupportable – decision of the Court of Appeal. The court found that in deciding whether to imprison foreign nationals indefinitely and without trial as suspected terrorists, David Blunkett, the home secretary, is entitled to rely on information obtained by torture, provided that the torture has been inflicted abroad by foreigners without encouragement from Britain. The case is soon to go on appeal to the House of Lords. I hope that at least some of the law lords, before deciding whether to uphold or overturn this perverse judgment by their brothers in the Court of Appeal, will read my article about it by clicking on,3604,1324929,00.html — or by getting the press cutting (Guardian 2, 12 October 2004, pages 16 and 17). If any reader of this feels sufficiently aroused by the article to write a densely argued letter of support to the Guardian, or the Times, or the Independent, or anywhere else: or to draw the attention of a friend to it, especially if the friend happens to be a Law Lord, so much the better.

The Times published a letter from me on this subject back in August (available on this blog), and there was a splendid philippic about it by Simon Jenkins, also in the Times, plus one or two articles in the Guardian, but apart from those, there has been very little public discussion of the issues. I hope, without much conviction, that my Guardian article might help to remedy the deficiency, if only marginally. [Sadly, readers of this outside the UK won’t be able to use the links here to items in the Times: it’s a chasse gardée reserved for Brits at home.]

12 October 04